Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier finished 3rd on the ‘queen stage’ of the Tour de Langkawi, 55 seconds behind stage winner Artem Ovechkin of Terrengganu Cycling team.
The day’s racing saw our team determined to make an impact following the sad end to the race for Mekseb Debesay who crashed badly in stage four.
That saw Johann van Zyl made an early impression building up a small lead before the race came back together after 20 kilometres.
The first meaningful break of the day came with just under an hour of the race gone via Wackermann (Bardiani), Osorio (Manzana-Postobon), Rosa (Wilier), Zhang (Hengxiang), Zawawi (Sapura) and Jumari (Malaysia).
With 35km to go the peloton started to react after restricting the break getting beyond 3 minutes; which was eventually whittled down to just Wackermann and Osorio who held a lead of 1:45 with 25km to go.
Ovechkin made his big move with just over 10km to the finish at Cameron Highlands, and a really strong ride from the Russian saw him solo to an impressive victory.
With the main groups behind the leaders starting to split our Eritrean made his mark and followed strongly finishing 27 seconds behind second-placed Benjamin Dyball.
He now sits in 4th place on the GC just over a minute behind the overall race leader.
Gino Van Oudenhove – Sporting Director
“We would have liked to win today but when ‘the Russian’ went from 4kms (to go), he went pretty quickly and took a minute. Then we started to chase but it was a bit too late, the other teams were also keeping an eye out and perhaps we underestimated him a bit.
I think we had a good chance to win this stage today with five guys but Amanuel did a really great job and the rest did a really good job too so we’re happy with the result.”
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier – Rider
“Yesterday Mekseb crashed which presented us with a problem as he was our team leader (at this race). Within the last 5kms I attacked the riders in my group (15 riders) and managed to split it and finished 3rd.
“My performance over the last 5kms was pretty good and also from my teammates who supported me throughout to finish 3rd today, and help me into 4th in the GC. I will now try my best to close that gap to the yellow jersey over the coming stages.”